Jan 16, 2012

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

book cover of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Title: Unearthly [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Cynthia Hand [Website|Twitter]
Standing: First in a planned trilogy.
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Published: January 4th, 2011 by HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover; 435 pages.  

Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Clara’s mother always told her she was “special”, but she didn’t mean it quite like your mom or mine.  Turns out, Clara is basically the poster child for Daft Punk’s “Longer, Better, Faster, Stronger”.  She’s ¼ angel-blood, which means she’s a natural at almost everything, gorgeous, she can speak any language, and get this people--mosquitoes don’t even bite her.  Do you know what I would give for that kind of power?!  Angel bloods don’t get off the hook with talent and good looks though, they come with a purpose--a task that they must complete during their time on earth.  The purpose usually reveals itself in the form of visions, and Clara’s leads her to Jackson, Wyoming and Christian Prescott.  Her visions of Christian and the forest fire have convinced her she has to save him, but before fire season she has to make it in Jackson Hole High, deal with Christian dating Kay, Tucker Avery being a prat, and come to terms with the reality that her and her family are not the only angel bloods in town.

I ended up reading this book for one reason--it takes place in Wyoming.  Ish.  I say ‘ish’ because Jackson (and the town is “Jackson” not “Jackson Hole” which is the area) doesn’t really count as Wyoming being as very few actual Wyomingites can afford to live there and it’s largely populated by immigrants from California.  Yes, those of us who grew up in other places in Wyoming have a bit of scorn for the place (shout out to my new bff Tucker!), but that didn’t stop me from getting excited over the setting of Unearthly.  And the greatest thing about all of this?  This book got it right!  

This is that type of book that reduces me to a eight year old girl clapping excitedly and eliciting squees of excitement much like my reaction to small fuzzy animals.   I had written this book off pretty quickly as another of the Fallen vein, and wasn’t sure I could handle yet another seemingly normal mortal girl falling for an immortal being and somehow ending up in a love triangle.  I failed to realize that she is the supernatural being, and the fact that she’s only ¼ supernatural being still allows her to be largely identifiable.  Also I’m pretty sure I jumped on the “TEAM TUCKER” band-wagon about 2.5 seconds into meeting him.  Scruffy (*ahem* rugged) real Wyoming kid with a bit of snark?  Yes please!

Despite yet another cover with inappropriately placed formal wear and a horrid monochrome scheme (at least Unearthly is purple--my favorite color), I ended up loving this book!  Clara comes across as a real girl, and I appreciate that she’s flawed.  She’s self-centered, and too wrapped up in her own shiz to acknowledge what’s going on around her with her mom, her brother, and her friends (I’m waiting for this to blow up in her face come Hallowed).  Aside from her flaws, she’s so easy to root for...she’s got a bad dye job, she knows nothing of the outdoors but isn’t afraid to learn and try, she even finds some stuff she sucks at!  Yes, there’s the requisite love triangle, but it’s not nauseating as usual, and honestly isn’t much of a concern in the series at all at this point.  I highly recommend Unearthly for all YA fans who can still stomach angels and love triangles, because trust me, this one is so worth it!

Likelihood that I'll be back for more:  Hit it!  My review for the sequel, Hallowed, will be out on Wednesday.

Recommended for:  My Wyoming people (or anyone who enjoys the great outdoors), any YA fan, people who want their supernatural creatures to be a bit more down to earth.

Real life repercussions of reading this book:  This book made me so incredibly homesick for the mountains, aspen, and the smell of pine.  Luckily, I finished it two days before heading to Wyoming for the holidays.

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